Patient satisfaction with health services in a rural district hospital
BACKGROUND: The concept of consumer satisfaction is gaining momentum across all business sectors worldwide. In keeping with this trend, health care systems are now also being reviewed to assess patient satisfaction with regard to the quality of care provided. Patient satisfaction is an instrumental tool for identifying shortcomings and challenges of the health system, and provides patients with a constructive outlet to rate their hospital experience. AIM: To determine the perceived levels of patient satisfaction with health care services. METHODOLOGY: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using patients who attended the Outpatients Department of Untunjambili Hospital in Kwa-Zulu Natal. A sample of 250 patients was selected using systematic random sampling. The research instrument, a structured questionnaire consisted of 23 questions which were subdivided into five categories, namely: biographical data; accessibility to the hospital; infrastructure; overall satisfaction and general comments. The 5-Point Likert Scale was used to determine the perceived levels of patient satisfaction. Data collected from the responses was analysed using the SPSS Programme, Version 22.0. A Significance level of (p=0.05) was applied. RESULTS: The response rate of the study was 99.2% (n=248).The majority of the respondents were female (75.4%) and aged between 20-30 years old. The relative ratio of males to females was approximately 1:3. Nearly half of the participants (48.4%) had a secondary education, and a high degree of illiteracy was noted (21.8%). The majority of patients relied on taxis as the mode of transport to reach the hospital (71.4%), with 55.2% having to pay more than R15.00 for travel costs. While statements relating to personality such as staff friendliness, and doctors treating patients respectfully scored highly (93.5%), more than two thirds reported dissatisfaction with the lengthy waiting times (71.8%). In terms of infrastructure, respondents were mainly satisfied with the seating arrangements, cleanliness and air circulation, but were unhappy with the state of the toilet facilities and the unavailability of drinking water. Overall, 90.3% of patients were satisfied with the level of care they received at Untunjambili Hospital, with 89.5% suggesting that they would recommend the institution to others.